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tv   Dateline NBC  NBC  September 5, 2012 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT

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she was smiling all the time. she was the life of the party. my mother called and said michelle is dead, how is it possible what happened? >> we know that he was the last person to talk to michelle that night. >> he was 170 miles away. he has an alibi. >> a young mother found brutally murdered, her little girl left to wonder in her mother's blood. police had a suspect, and they say, he had a motive. >> we had an intimate relationship. >> ended up having sex. >> could they prove he was the killer? >> it was a circumstantial case. >> except for that witness, the girl who left those foot prints. >> we will never know what cassie saw and what she didn't see. >> maybe she couldn't tell detectives who the killer was, but maybe she didn't have to. >> the fact that cassidy was
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spared, would that mean anything to a jury. >> the person that killed the mother cared about cassidy. >> silent witness. >> welcome to "dateline," everyone. i am lester holt. it is called a crime of passion, a murder motivated by hate or by love. this murder was so brutal at least one of the motives almost certainly had to be hate. it was an act of love that finally brought a killer to justice. here is keith morrison. >> i think i paused for a second and had to take a deep breath and just the reality of what was going on sank in. >> those who saw the footprints will not forget them. they were tiny, and they were bloody. >> i had to get my composure to finish searching this house to make sure there was nobody else in the house. >> it was the 3rd of november,
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2006, early afternoon. deputy scott erve of the wake county sheriff's department has been dispatched to a quiet and leafy neighborhood calleden has noted oklahoaks in raleigh, nor carolina. >> i think my sister is dead. >> tell me what happened, ma'am. >> i have no idea. oh, my god. >> the caller was meredith fisher. she had just discovered on the floor of the master bedroom the savagely beaten body of her elder sister, 29-year-old michelle young, a woman who in death was about to be fame zus listen to me, ma'am. you need to calm down so you can help us. you said there is blood everywhere. >> yes. >> listen to me, ma'am. is she breathing? >> i don't think so. >> have you checked? >> michelle. she is cold. >> okay. >> as she spoke, meredith was cradling her two-and-a-half-year-old niece cassidy who crawled out from
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under the bed clothes on her parents bed feet from where her mother lay and her voice was caught on the recorded call. had cassidy witnessed the murder? awakened, alone, to find this? >> you just picture a small child walking around in this blood and tracking it across the hallway into the bathroom. >> by now wake county investigators were descending on the house and having secured the crime scene herb's job was done. on his way out he saw cassidy again. she was still in her pink pajamas, still in meredith's arms. he asked meredith a question. >> i looked over to the child and i didn't see any blood so i asked her did you clean the child, and her response was no. i thought it was kind of odd because i was expecting her to say yes, i guess. >> somebody did. >> somebody did. >> but who? was it the same person who murdered the little girl's mother? on this november day all they
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had were questions. sergeant richard spivey of the wake county sheriff's office probably knows the case better than anyone. >> this was a brutal, vicious beating. there was a lot of time and energy invested into this assault. >> why do you say a lot of time and energy? >> the medical examiner told us there were over 30 blows with some sort of blunt object. >> there were clues. investigators found two different shoe prints near the body. were there two attackers? a jewelry box was missing two drawers. was it a bung he willed burglary? they began working it hard but they knew that shoe prints and jewelry boxes could only tell them so much. they needed to investigate the victim as well and everyone around her. michelle young was born and raised on long island, new york. >> smiling all the time. she was the life of the party. >> stacia gross man knew her from childhood. >> she didn't like being the center of attention but liked
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creating a great atmosphere for everyone to have a good team. >> michelle was a cheerlead inner high school and a straight a student. jennifer powers felt down to her. >> she had a book worm sense to her where she was very stoodious and goal oriented and a great person to be around and a fun, happy spirit, and someone that i wanted to spend a lot of time with. >> lots of people did. when she chose a college far from home, north carolina state, she was soon surrounded again by an admiring group of women friends, best friends, buddies. fi own achild was her sorroritie big sister. >> there is one picture and it came out beautiful because we liked it because we thought we looked like charlie's angels posed without intention of doing that. >> it was sometime in 2001 when friends started hearing about michelle's new guy, a fellow student named jason young, heard how he had grown up in the north carolina mountains, how he loved to much ka, how he was the life
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of tailgate parties. michelle fell hard and fast. >> they seemed like a good couple. he was different from other men she dated in the past. he wasn't as serious about a career as she was. he was a little bit less sophisticated than michelle was, but she seemed to be very happy with him. >> michelle and jason married in october 2003. the day after the wedding they shared their big secret, michelle was pregnant. their daughter cassidy was born early the next year. >> i love you, mommy. >> i love you, too, cassidy. >> and when she came along, it was love at first sight. ♪ >> michelle was an enthusiastic mother. >> huh? >> huh? [ laughter ] >> by all accounts jason was a good dad. >> he was a great play mate.
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he knew how to sit on the floor and play with his daughter, you know. >> the youngs moved into a big pine house on birch leaf in 2005. both of them worked, he a salesman and she a financial specialist. in the summer of 2006 michelle got pregnant again. they kept the news to themselves but it was clear something good was happening. >> the comment she said to me was he is excited to have another baby, not implying that she was pregnant but that he was excited at the prospect of it. >> just a few months later michelle was dead. jason was 170 miles away in virginia on a business trip the night of the murder. he heard the news the next afternoon and returned to raleigh. fiona got word from a girlfriend. >> she said, michelle is dead.
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it was like it wasn't registering what she said. it was like what? >> stacia grossman couldn't take it in either. >> my mother called and said michelle is dead, and i said michelle who? some celebrity? like what are you talking about? what do you mean? how is that possible what happened? >> the very question that is wake county investigators were asking themselves. >> when we come back, a security camera provides a critical clue. it is not what it caught on tape, it is what it missed and why. >> there was a camera there that had been unplugged. >> who had
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ugly. one night in november 2006 while her husband was away on business, michelle young was attacked in her own bedroom and brutally beaten to death, her body discovered the next day by her sister meredith, along with her two and a half-year-old daughter cassidy, who had been left to wander in her blood. for the investigators who set out to find her killer, no way to get those little footprints out of their minds. sergeant richard spivey, lead investigator. those of us who work in law enforcement, this is our profession, but we're also parents, and that certainly strikes a different note with you when you see something like that. >> michelle's husband, a salesman, was 170 miles away the night of the murder. even so, investigators had to look at him. >> we knew he was the last one to talk with michelle that night, and we know he was the reason she was found.
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he called meredith to go to the house. >> jason young's business trip that night was routine. security tapes showed him getting gas about 7:30 p.m. as he left raleigh. two hours later, he was seen on tape at a cracker barrel restaurant in greensboro. later he checked into this hampton inn in hillsborough, virginia. this is him at 8:00 p.m. and him again at midnight. he also made a phone call around midnight, and that was the last time anybody heard from jason young until he made another call at 7:40 the next morning. >> a normal person would look at this and say, well, she was beaten to death sometime during the night that night, and he was 170 miles away. he's got an alibi. >> that sounds like a great distance, you know, but 170 miles, you can get from the crime scene to the hotel in about two and a half hours. >> perhaps, but there were curious anomalies to the crime scene that they couldn't explain. the jewelry box with the two drawers missing.
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it could have been a bungled burglary. then there were footprints near the body that seemed to eliminate jason. an obvious print on the pillow was a size 10, but jason wore a size 12. this was weird. there was another partial footprint that defied easy identification, so they began calling in shoe experts. and now they wondered, were there two attackers? of course, investigators discovered early on that michelle and jason's marriage was strained, and in the last weeks of michelle's life, things were not good. >> at our friend shelly's wedding, he was so drunk and just really out of it. when we got to the wedding, our friends were letting us know that michelle and jason were fighting and they were referring to it as world war iii. >> jennifer powers told investigators about another fight that october. michelle wanted her mother to stay with them for the holidays,
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and jason, who had a tense relationship with his mother-in-law, wanted to limit her stay and said so in an e-mail, along with another nugget. >> he wrote, our marriage has seen better days and i don't see it trending up. and i remember that really striking a chord with me because i didn't know that their marriage had seen better days. >> of course, investigators wanted to interview jason young. maybe he could tell them something. but he refused to talk to them. >> it's not probably a bad idea because any husband would know he's going to be the first person on the list. >> it's certainly well within his right to seek legal counsel. certainly. >> so he talked to the lawyer and then came and talked to you? >> he talked to the lawyer and then, under the advice of counsel, he declined to speak with us at all. >> didn't ask about it? didn't ask how his wife died? >> no. >> didn't ask how many blows on her head? >> didn't ask us any questions like that. >> but jason wasn't talking to anybody, not even friends.
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>> i didn't try to get him to talk about it, but i would think there would be some words of some kind, like, i can't believe this, or just something. >> perhaps, investigators thought, that business trip deserved a second look. so they went to the hotel, poked around and discovered some odd activities that night in a stairwell near an exit. >> there was a camera there that had been unplugged. >> really. >> yes. it was one of the side exits of the hotel. one of the fire stairs that go down to the first floor. >> was there any other tampering done? >> well, the door that was adjacent to where this camera was located, that door also had been propped open that night. >> how do you know that? >> the gentleman that was working as the clerk that night found a rock that had been placed in the door to keep the door from closing. then they plugged the camera back in so it's now working
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again, and at about 6:35 that morning, suddenly that camera is pointing straight at the ceiling. >> same camera. >> same camera. and it's tampered with yet again. >> if that was jason young's work, is it possible he did make the 340-mile round trip? could he have killed his wife and cleaned up his daughter all in seven and a half hours, all without being seen? to find out, investigators played a hunch. they visited every gas station on the route, showed jason's photos, talked to the night clerks and came across a woman named gracie doms in a tiny place called king, north carolina. she took one look at that photograph and recognized it instantly. he was the foul-mouthed customer, she said, who came storming into the store to complain that the pumps were locked. and what time was it? 5:30 a.m., the morning of the murder. >> there was actually an altercation between the two of
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them, so you have the reason why she would remember him as opposed to any other customer that may have just happened into the store. >> if that attendant was right, investigators may have undercut jason's alibi. still, it wasn't enough. so they plotted ahead, painstaking work, took time. then years after the murder, they finally got a match for that partial footprint. >> the state bureau of investigation and the fbi were able to eventually identify that shoe as a hush puppy shoe, and it was a size 12, which was the same size that he wore. >> throughout the investigation, jason stead fastly maintained his silence. he even gave michelle's family custody of his daughter rather than face a legal battle where he would be asked some tough questions. >> everyone that we spoke with, all of them talked about how much he loved cassidy and what a great dad he was. to just turn over primary custody, that was very surprising.
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>> investigators had heard enough. they believed they had a case. circumstantial, but a case. three years after michelle young's body was found on the bedroom floor, jason young was charged with her murder. investigators and prosecutors knew that very little pointed directly toward jason young, but so far nothing pointed away. coming up, the case against jason young as an alleged killer and as a cheating husband. >> we had an intimate relationship for the two days that he was there. we ended up having sex. >> he never settled down. >> when "dateline" continues. ♪
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is . jason young went on trial for the murder of his pregnant wife, michelle, in june 2011. by then he had spent 18 months in a jail cell. the guy who lived for tailgates, the guy who loved to party, that guy was long gone. prosecutor becky holt opened for the state. >> the defendant had a plan. the plan was to murder his wife. his plan was to get away with it. >> the prosecution's case was built on that partial shoe print. they knew now that jason once owned a pair of hush puppies like these that matched the print.
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they were now missing. they also told jurors about that early morning visit to the gas station and the suspicious activity at the hotel. but the thrust of their case was this: jason young was trying, in the most violent possible way, to get out of a troubled marriage. >> were you aware of tensions in that marriage? >> yes. i was wellware. >> michelle's sister lived near the couple, and for a period was cassidy's nanny. as the young couple's fight intensified, she took on the role of marriage counselor, too. >> what would you say were the main issues? >> michelle's main issues were jason being more responsible, understanding her more, and his main concern was their lack of sex life. >> prosecutors called friends to the stand to paint a picture of a marriage that was unraveling, out loud and in public. >> jason made it very well known that, you know, he was upset
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about the lack of sex in the relationship. >> that's something that he would discuss in group settings? >> in front of us, yes, certainly openly. >> and at parties, said fiona childs, jason's x-rated trips were ferociously over the top. >> he would expose himself and do what he thought were funny tricks. >> everybody would squeal and pretend to laugh. >> yeah, and i was just rather embarrassed for michelle. i always felt, you know, kind of distressed about that, like what adult does that? >> he never settled down. it was as if he was still living the single life and he never bought into the marriage and what all that meant. >> the sort of person who wanted his whole life to be a frat house experience? >> exactly. >> in october 2006 when michelle was four months pregnant, jason became deeply involved with another woman. and not just any woman.
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michelle money was one of michelle young's close friends from college, one of those charlie's angels. in early october, days before his third wedding anniversary, jason flew to florida to see michelle money. she testified they both knew it was wrong. >> he flew in on a saturday, and i believe that as late as thursday night, i was saying, oh, maybe you shouldn't come. this is wrong. >> and what transpired during the course of that weekend? >> we basically just hung out at the house, and we had an intimate relationship for the two days that he was there. >> jason was crazy about her. his friend josh dalton said. >> he basically told me he thought he was in love with her. >> michelle's mother, linda fisher, testified that in the final weeks of michelle's life, she could see the toll the failing marriage was taking on her pregnant daughter. >> she had her head on my lap,
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and she was lying out, and i was stroking her hair. and she was empty. >> and what did she tell you? >> things weren't working out with jason. >> two days before she was murdered, michelle phoned her sister meredith to report yet another blow-up with jason. she told her sister she was "done." >> she was just, i've had it. she said that, you know, more than one time. i can't do this anymore. >> jason was telling one of his close friends the same thing. and prosecutors said just days before michelle was murdered, he indulged in one last transgression, a casual hook-up with an old friend named carol anne sauerby in his own living room. michelle was away at the time.
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>> cassidy was put down to bed and had a couple drinks. we just were talking and -- we ended up having sex. >> but divorce was apparently not an option for jason. >> he had made a statement at one time that he was afraid that if he ever got a divorce that michelle would take cassidy back to new york. >> did he indicate to you that he would have some fears about ever seeing cassidy again? >> correct. >> still, one big question remained. was a good time guy like jason young even capable of murder? genevieve cargo was engaged to jason in 1999 before he met michelle. she took the stand about his
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drinking. frgsz superflushof >> he became agitated. he said something to the effect that if i'm going to make such a terrible husband, then give me my ring back. >> did you give it to the defendant? >> no. he began trying to pull the ring off, and it wouldn't come off. he was throwing me from one bed to the other and jumping on me with all his weight and pinning my arms, both of them, behind me. >> were you able to see his face? >> i saw his face, and his eyes were glazed over and didn't show any emotion. >> prosecutors hope to convince the jury it all added up to a motive for murder. so how would the defense counterattack? with a witness who could refute every charge. when we come back, jason young finally breaks his silence as he takes the stand to testify. >> did you kill your wife michelle? >> no, sir. >> were you there when it happened? >> no, sir. >> when "silent witness" continues.
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what the prosecution didn't tell you -- >> there is an art to the business of criminal defense, and it would take a true artist to repaint the prosecution's dark portrait of jason young.
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so what could defense attorney mike clinkerson do? well, to begin with, as he told the jury, he agreed with the prosecution. jason young was not a good husband. >> he acted at times like an immature jerk. but that does not make him a killer. >> the defense was not about to make any more concessions, mind you. that jewelry box from the bedroom, there was dna on it that didn't match either michelle or jason. the suspicious activity at the hotel? there was a fingerprint on that camera, and it wasn't jason young's. and there wasn't any forensic evidence that tied jason to the crime scene. and there was no blood in his car. there was not a scratch on him. >> ladies and gentlemen, jason lynn young did not murder his wife. he did not murder their unborn son. and this case has not been solved. >> who better to make that argument than jason young himself?
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but so far, remember, he had never said a word to anyone about that november night in almost five years silence. >> it's always a big decision for defense attorneys whether or not to call their client. >> beth is a correspondent for "in session" on the trutv network. >> this is a case that really begged for jason young to testify. >> why after all of this time? >> if he's truly innocent, get on the stand and tell the story. >> we call jason young. >> with his mother sitting in the front row, jason young prepared to do just that. defense attorney brian collins hit it hard off the top. >> did you kill your wife michelle? >> no, sir. >> were you there when it happened? >> no, sir. >> then jason testified about what he did the night of the murder. after he checked into the hotel, he said, he left his room twice, the first time to get a power cord for his laptop. >> i was going over the sales call that i had the next day. >> the second trip, he
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testified, was to smoke a cigar. >> i had to go outside to smoke a cigar. and i also wanted to look at some sports schedules and some standings, and so i wanted to see if i could pick up the usa today as well. >> that newspaper run explained why he was seen at the front desk, he said, around midnight. >> so between the time you smoked the cigar and went back upstairs and went to sleep, did you leave that room until the next morning? >> no, sir. >> the next morning after his sales call, jason testified he realized he had left some ebay printouts sitting on the computer printer at home. they showed purses. he was thinking about buying one for michelle as a belated anniversary present. >> i realized i didn't bring those papers. >> why was it important to you that somebody get into those papers? >> because i wanted it to be a surprise. a surprise for michelle means so much more than anything. >> so around noon on the 3rd, he called his sister to ask if she
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would go to the house to get those ebay papers. he left meredith a voice mail. >> if you could do me a huge favor and go over there and see if you could find them sitting on the computer. >> then he headed to his mother's place in the mountains nearby. and it was there, he testified hours later, that he learned michelle had been murdered. >> i just -- i just fell. i just -- i broke on the inside. i just broke and i didn't believe it. >> family members drove him back to raleigh. during the drive, he said his friends called. >> ryan and josh had said that the investigators were asking really ugly questions and pointing their finger at me and doing things like that, and they said, you don't need to talk to anybody. you need to get a lawyer before you talk to anybody. >> and then the explanation for his long silence. >> the lawyer that i got after
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talking with him, he actually advised me to not go talk to the police. >> did you take that advice? >> yes, sir, i did. >> did he also tell you not to talk to anybody about it? >> that's exactly what he said, he said don't talk to anybody about anything. >> the defense also addressed the motive that prosecutors had worked out that jason wanted to escape a bad marriage and keep custody of cassidy and spend time with his new love. brian collins asked jason about that relationship with michelle money. >> did you have any designs on leaving michelle young for michelle money? >> no, sir. >> why not? >> i think we both knew it was wrong. i don't think either one dreamed that it would ever be found out. >> as for that violent episode with his ex-fiancee, jason had an explanation for it. >> did you throw her around on the bed like she said? >> no, sir.
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what i did was wrong. i did pin her down and i took the ring. >> okay. what was your level of intoxication at that time? >> i was very intoxicated, but i don't feel like that's an excuse for what i did. >> and they question him about the most important woman in his life. >> did you want to stay married to michelle? >> yes, i did. i wanted to have another baby and i wanted the family to grow. >> his testimony lasted three hours. >> jason young was a very good witness. he understood what he had to do when he was on the stand. >> so he didn't come off as contrived or phoney, like he had put this together very carefully in order to account for all the evidence that they had? >> he had access to police reports, all the discovery. he knew the state's vulnerabilities, and so he could arguably tailor his testimony to fit with an innocent
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explanation. >> how did jason young do? 12 jurors were about to decide. coming up, the prosecutor gets her chance to go one on one with jason young, and it isn't pretty. >> were you working on your marriage when you were having sex with caroline sauerby in your home? >> when "dateline" continues. to go healthy?
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it was riveting. almost five years of silence about his wife's murder broken here in this courtroom. >> i love cassidy and i loved michelle. >> and then he went to murder his wife. >> now prosecutor becky holt began pulling apart a story she had just heard for the first time. >> were you working on your marriage when you were having sex with caroline sauerby in your home less than two weeks before your wife was murdered? >> no, ma'am. that was not the way to work on a marriage. that was very detrimental. >> were you working on your marriage when you called michelle money? >> michelle and i confided a lot in each other and we talked about my issues with my wife, and she talked about her issues with her husband.
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>> so is the answer yes, when you had an affair with michelle money that you were working on your marriage? >> no, ma'am, having the sexual intercourse and having the intimacy was very detrimental to that. >> you had a sexual relationship -- >> they snapped back and forth, dueled over the meaning of words, the context of questions. >> you would be parsing your questions so that he could avoid the answer. >> he would be trying to control the direction and what information was provided to the jury. >> the cross examination lasted a full hour. and the next day, the case went to the jury. >> retire to the jury deliberation room. >> it soon became clear the jurors were having trouble. >> the jury has indicated they have not yet reached a unanimous decision. >> the jury was split 6-6. the judge sent them back to try to make it unanimous. but hours later, they were back. and courtroom 3c was still. >> it appears they are deadlocked in this forum.
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>> eight jurors are voted for acquittal, four voted guilty. the judge declared a mistrial. for family and friends, it was a huge letdown. >> why couldn't the jury reach a decision? >> there were some that weren't sure, and they were not going to change. >> was serious consideration given to dropping the case? >> i think there was serious consideration as to is there more we can do. >> so the prosecutors decided they would try again. but this time with the one thing they didn't have the first time. jason's own story. >> i suppose it's a defense attorney's nightmare or something, because after an amount of time, he tells the story. but now it's out there. >> that was the one shot, the real shot the defense had of winning the case, was putting him on the stand, and they almost did convince two-thirds of the jurors.
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>> sure. for it not to work for the defense where they had to retry it, now they know the prosecution will really rip apart his story and see what they can do to tear it down. >> their ace in the hole is suddenly their albatross. >> yeah. >> in february 2012, jason's new trial began. the same judge, same courtroom, different jurors. this time howard cleary started the investigation, hoping to use jason's own words to convict him. but first, prosecutors had new witnesses and new testimony. they wanted jurors to hear about cassidy bloody footprints made her a silent witness to murder. >> when i got to cassidy, i said, what are you doing? daycare worker took the stand. >> i noticed what she was doing. >> she told the jury she watched cassidy playing. alone. days after her mother was murdered. >> she had the chair and the
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doll in her hand together, and the mommy doll in the other hit hand and hit them. >> as unsettling as it was, that the killer left a silent witness behind, a witness he would never harm. >> the fact that cassidy was spared, did that mean anything to you or would that mean anything to a jury? >> certainly, it meant that the person did kill the mother, we felt, cared about cassidy. >> fiona childs took the stand. prosecutors pressed her about a life insurance policy jason arranged. and michelle had questions. >> she brought up specifically her life insurance. she brought it up several times asking me didn't i think that million dollars was too much, and did they really need that? >> after michelle died, fiona found out the true amount of the policy was actually $4 million. >> i was just in total shock, thinking, that is incredibly
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excessive. >> then the headline act. prosecutors played jason young's entire testimony from the first trial. >> i wanted her to have that. >> and began to rip it apart. prosecutors tried to show that jason was called to pick up those the ebay papers. >> that auction was going to end why else would he print an ebay auction ad and leave it on the printer and hit the road where he couldn't bid during the actual auction. >> that auction was going to end 8:00 p.m. eastern standard time. >> what date was that? >> that was on november 2nd to november 6th. >> the night of the murder. now prosecutors tried to prove that jason lied about his reasons for leaving. the hotel room. in his original testimony he told the court he left the first time to get a power cord for his laptop. >> why is it you wanted to look on your laptop?
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>> i was going over the sales call that i had the next day. >> but special agent mike smith took the stand to say young didn't use his laptop for work that night. >> his internet site is dedicated to sports. >> jason said he went out a second time to smoke a cigar. but prosecutors contended jason was a fierce anti-smoker, and the weather that night was freezing. windy. >> can you tell us whether or not there was any extensive outerware the defense -- >> the defense. >> no. a suit jacket. that was the only outerwear i am aware of. >> the defense fought back, of course. they argued the gas station attendant's memory couldn't be trusted. >> i do have memory problems with that because i'm going through a difficult time myself.
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were. >> they argued it never really was solved, that he would never have had time to make the trip and commit murder, that he once owned a human dor and once made a purchase at a cigar store. >> and then. it was over again and time for a jury to consider whether jason young would go to jail or walk out of court a freeman. coming up, the verdict take two. >> we, the jury, find the defendant jason young to be -- >> when "silent witness" continues.
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for more than five years, michelle young's family and friends had been waiting for answers. who killed their pretty, pregnant michelle? many thought they knew. >> it was him. i didn't know all the evidence. i didn't know half the things i know now, but i felt that way. >> one jury failed to decide. and now attorneys were making their final arguments to a second jury. >> be mad at him. hate him if you want to. but when you look at the physical evidence in this case, it does not match-up. it does not match up to jason having killed his wife and unborn son. >> 30 blows? that's not from a stranger. that is a mad, mad domestic abuser. >> soon that jury was behind closed doors in the wake county superior court. and day one ended.
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no decision. >> while you were waiting for that verdict, what was that like? >> nerve-racking. >> yeah. knowing what happened the first time. on day two, jurors asked for a lot of evidence. including the pajamas cassidy was wearing after she was found. >> after seeing the evidence the jury requested it and i thought, wow, you know, maybe it doesn't bode well for jason. >> late that same day, they were back with a verdict. family, friends and attorneys prepared themselves. >> we had worked hard, we had put everything out there for that jury, and they had everything that they needed. >> we, the jury, by unanimous verdict find the defendant jason lynn young to be guilty of first degree murder of michelle young. >> guilty of first degree murder. jason young didn't flinch. behind him, his mother was equally stoic. on the other side of the court, michelle young's bereaved mother and sister wept.
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fiona, at home, got the news from a friend. >> he's guilty. what? what? >> jason young received a life sentence, chose not to address the court. even as the bailiffs led him away, he remained expressionless. afterwards, defense attorneys declined to be interviewed, and prosecutors were, they told us, relieved. >> it's very emotional to have family members there who you've been working with for five and a half years. and they finally have justice, you know. >> we've been telling them for years just trust. just trust that it will be the right result. >> later, jurors revealed that when the deliberations began, they were divided just like the first jury. but then they began working through the issues. anthony fuller was struck by the clothes jason young was seen wearing at the front desk at midnight.
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that shirt, those shoes were never found. >> where are these items? we can't find the shoes all of a sudden when the police was asking for them. >> jury forewoman tracy rackstas focused on the fact that the young killer posed on young cassidy. >> i just kept going over in my mind that it takes one person to care for another person to do that. >> fiona was also thinking of cassidy young now eight years old. >> maybe we'll never know what cassidy saw or what she didn't see, but we know for sure that she saw her mommy laying down dead. she saw a lot of blood. she had her mommy's blood on her. >> she walked around in it. >> yeah. so that image is someplace in her mental pile. >> i love you, too, cassidy.
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>> it must have been hate, raw and selfish, that drove jason young to murder michelle. but perhaps some remnant of love for his daughter kept her from physical harm and led finally to his own conviction. those tiny footprints, the mute and damning testament to the horrors of a november night in the house on birch leaf drive. that's all for now. i'm lester holt. thanks for joining us. right now at 11:00, a h


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